Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Like "Quizno's for pizza": Famoso Neapolitan Pizzaria

Having been introduced to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzaria (11750 Jasper Avenue) by Where Edmonton, Mack and I decided to give it a try on Friday. Claiming to produce authentic Neapolitan pizzas, training with the Associazione Verce Pizza Napolentana, an Italian organization dedicated to preserving the standards of "True Neapolitan Pizza," and using only imported Italian flour and San Marzano tomatoes, Famoso seemed like a good bet for quality food.

Upon reading the restaurant's description in the magazine, both Mack and I were expecting a dining room aligned with a European bistro - quaint decor, bustling but quiet - but instead, we got, in Mack's words, "Quizno's for pizza." While the self-serve seating and ordering at the counter concept was fine, the white booths and LCD TV seemed out of place, as was the baritone order announcer, who could easily be slumming as a nightclub DJ in the evenings.

That said, their menu was filled with a great selection of pizzas, sandwiches, and sides, making it difficult to narrow down our choices. In the end, I couldn't resist the classic Margherita (fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil), while Mack opted for the Siciliana (fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, Italian sausage, Italian ham and baked prosciutto).

Our orders were up fairly quickly (though celebrity spotting Edmonton Rush's Jimmy Quinlan distracted us a bit). The pizza crust was like none I'd ever had before - soft, chewy, and very much like fresh pita bread, it probably was better suited to being eaten as they recommended, folded as a sandwich. The pizza itself had a bit of a sour, tangy after taste, likely attributed to the uncooked sauce used. Lastly, I would have preferred roma tomatoes in place of cherry tomatoes (and really, it wasn't worth the extra $1.50 for the four tomatoes on my pizza). Mack was similarly underwhelmed with his dish.

Though most of their ingredients are imported, the franchise nature of Famoso ultimately cheapens the feeling of authenticity somehow. The pizza was decent, and I may return (in particular for their Nutella dessert pizza), but Famoso will not be replacing my delivery standbys anytime soon.



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